The 2007 AmLaw Tech Survey is out. What does it tell us? 

Digital Dialogue (Law Firm Inc., 9/07) includes an article about the Am Law Tech 2007 Survey and related tables and articles.

Last year in a a post about the AmLaw Tech 2006 Survey I mused that the results could suggest undue emphasis on infrastructure. The results have a very different feel this year.

As the article title suggests, BigLaw has growing interest in collaboration technology. I share that view but I’m not sure how deep that interest is quite yet. Three specifics on collaboration struck me:

  • A question on collaboration was answered by only 90 of 126 respondents. When 30% of respondents don’t answer a question, that speaks volumes about the non-responders.
  • Of the 90 respondents, 3/4 use web conference software. That 1/3 do not shocks me. Granted I have a tech bent, but I’m so used to Webex, GoToMeeting, Live Meeting, and other brands of web conference that I can’t imagine how 20 large firms manage without it.
  • Turning to newer ways to collaborate, blogs and wikis seem to be making good inroads: 30 firms have blogs and and 15 internal wikis. Of course, SharePoint, which seems to be more and more popular in large firms, makes blogs and wikis free.

The survey seems bigger this year than last so I won’t even try summarizing it. A few items I found of particular interest:

  • Hummingbird’s (now OpenText) share dropped 7 percentage points, Interwoven’s climbed 6 points, and Starlaw clocked in at 2 points. For document management, these are sea changes given the pain in migrating brands. I was impressed with Starlaw at ILTA and am glad to see that they placed in the survey with what is either 2 or 3 customers.
  • Market share of e-discovery (EDD) vendors also bounced around but I assign less significance to these movements given the transactional (i.e, case specific) rather than institutional (i.e., firm-wide) decisions typically involved. What strikes me is that 16 vendors are used by at least 15% of respondents. I’d say the market is still fragmented!
  • Can we talk about e-billing? I’d think that with all the huffing and puffing by general counsels, e-billing software would be required widely. So I was surprised to see that 105 firms report that less than 25% of their clients require firms to bill electronically.
  • Perhaps I’ve drunk my own Kool-Aid, but I expected to see more firms adopting what I have dubbed Enterprise Relationship Discovery software (see my May blog post Something for Nothing? Enterprise Relationship Discovery ). The article discusses some of the challenges with traditional CRM. I view “ERD” products as virtual magic marketing bullets. I was therefore surprised to see ContactNet with only 2% of 124 respondents and no mention of BranchIT.

I’ll have to re-read this rich survey to see if I can mine more tidbits. Please feel free to share your own take on surprises by leaving a comment or sending me email (info at prismlegal dot com).